Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
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Levin and Rappaport (1995) have proposed a binary classification for change of state verbs that revolves around the locus of cause for these changes: whether the cause is internal or external to the entity undergoing change. They claim this distinction is crosslinguistically viable and explains the syntactic behavior of these predicates. Based on work done by Smith (1970) and Wright (2001), this paper argues for an extension of Levin and Rappaport’s binary classification. Instead, I propose a continuum resulting from the analysis of corpora in English and Spanish for verbs that would enter the binary categories advanced by Levin and Rappaport. One of the problematic pairs of verbs for their classification when applied to Spanish, florecer ‘to bloom’ and marchitar(se) ‘to wilt’ is analyzed in detail. The continuum proposed here extends Levin and Rappaport’s categories and takes into account the locus of control of the change and whether external factors may be necessary conditions for the change to occur. In particular, this new focus can account for the presence or absence of the clitic se with some of the predicates in Spanish.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): causative alternation; corpus; English/Spanish; unaccusative verbs
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